Ponoka Lions Club members collect donations for the Ponoka Food Bank in front of the Lions community bus. (File photo)

Ponoka Lions Club members collect donations for the Ponoka Food Bank in front of the Lions community bus. (File photo)

Town declines offer to take over Lions Club’s bus program

Town council briefs from Aug. 9 meeting

Ponoka town council decided during their regular meeting on Aug. 9, the town won’t be taking over the Ponoka Lions Club’s community bus program.

The Lions met with council on May 10 to ask if the town would be interested in taking over the program.

The two reasons club members gave for needing to find a new operator for the program was loss of funding and aging volunteers. The Lions Club has operated a food concession stand during the Ponoka Stampede for many years, but the building was at the end of it’s life cycle and was removed from the grounds this year.

Having operated the bus since 1975, the club was hoping the program could stay in the community.

Ultimately the town determined that it wasn’t feasible to take over the program because it would mean a significant cost to the town in terms of human resources, fuel, maintenance, insurance, administration, capital maintenance and replacement of equipment.

The bus is 21 years old a and has just over 600,000 km. The Ponoka Lions Club provided information that to replace this bus with a new fully equipped coach would cost over $750,000.

Council voted to respectfully decline the Ponoka Lions Club offer and encourage reaching out to other community organizations to promote the opportunity.

READ MORE: Ponoka Lions asks town to take over bus program after loss of major fundraiser

Municipally Controlled Corporation

In order to support needed upgrades to the town’s waste treatment facility, administration is looking into establishing a Municipally Controlled Corporation (MCC).

The town investigated various funding and governance models and a MCC is thought to be the best way for the town to move forward with the needed upgrades to meet regulatory commitments.

Council voted to direct administration to pursue the next steps towards establishing a MCC.

Budget deliberations

Town council will deliberate on the 2023 budget on Nov. 1 and 2.

Administration has begun the process of preparing the 2023 Operating and Capital budget. Once completed, the proposed budget is presented to Council for discussion and modifications prior to the Interim Budget approval.

Ukraine recognition days

The Town of Ponoka will recognize Ukrainian Independence Day on Aug. 24 and Alberta Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day on Sept. 7.

The towb will project colours of the Ukrainian flag (blue and yellow) onto the Ponoka Civic Centre from sunset until sunrise on both of these days.

“We’re lighting up our building as a symbol of hope for democratic principles in the world, and for peace,” said Ponoka Mayor Kevin Ferguson in a press release.

Town of Ponoka